Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Whether you’re heading off to historic cities, major metro areas, beautiful beaches, or ancient battlefields, you’ll need to be prepared with the right travel accessories. Even seasoned travelers are always learning new tricks and tips to make international travel an easier, more enjoyable experience. A good packing list covering the basic necessities means you’ll be a safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable travel companion.
If you’ll be traveling to countries that require adapters instead of converters, save money with this handy two USB port charger. Double USB charging means you can keep tablets, phones, cameras and more ready to use, so you’ll never miss out on that perfect photo.More: 7 Best Travel Pillows for Staying Comfy On The Go
If you’re traveling in comfort with real luggage instead of a backpack, keeping things clean and easy to find helps you breeze through airport security. Instead of a haphazard tangle of chargers and cables, rapidly wrinkling clothing, and loose bottles, you’ll be able to pack or unpack quickly, perfect for multi-stop trips through several countries.
A guided journal with plenty of room for thoughts and observations, I Was Here offers prompts to encourage reflection and mindfulness. Full of unconventional souvenir ideas, ways to meet people and enjoy the local scene more thoroughly, and ideas for questions to ask local tour guides, transit operators, or shopkeepers, it’s guaranteed to make travelers think about culture in a new way. Often what we think of as absolutes in life are based on upbringing and circumstances; when we travel, it’s essential to break out of those molds and experience all that other cultures have to offer.
If your travel itinerary takes you to parts of the world without solid electric or plumbing infrastructure, the two-stage filter in LifeStraw’s combination bottle and filter can help keep you hydrated, and safe, while on the go. It also helps eliminate chlorine, mineral, or sulfur tastes from water that is safe to drink but unenjoyable.
Picking up an etiquette guide to the local culture before you embark helps prevent any mix-ups, and will keep your trips running much more smoothly. If you’ll be visiting Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, this guide to Japan makes a good travel companion, ensuring you’re up to date on polite behavior and customs. It’s not enough just to know the language; an etiquette guide helps make sure you aren’t accidentally using rude gestures, impolite slang, or insults.
If you’re traveling fast, light and cheap, a carry-on sized pack is the only way to go. Hand washing laundry helps you get more days out of fewer items of clothing, as does picking a durable bag with just enough room for the essentials; tighten down the external straps and buckles and you’re on your way. Plenty of external pockets make it easy to find a purse, coin pouch, or travel documents, and the mesh pockets work great for water bottles or sunscreen.
Exploring the beautiful beaches, cityscapes, and historic landmarks of the world can bring on an expanded perspective, a new appreciation for art and history, and wonderful memories to last a lifetime. It can also bring on one heck of a sunburn. Make sure you protect your skin before venturing out on those exciting all-day expeditions.
Much of the world is cash-only, or at the very least cash preferred. Since many Americans now don’t carry cash on a daily basis, this is a big culture shift. It’s important while traveling with cash to be sure that you have a good in-room safe or theft deterrent luggage, as well as a secure way to carry money while shopping or sightseeing. This leather wristlet works comfortably on its own, or fits easily into a daypack, eliminating cumbersome over the shoulder purses. It also has RFID blocking, to keep your cards and passport safe from attempts at digital theft.
With the right tech accessories, you can keep you in touch with loved ones at home, as well as make it easy to contact airlines, hotels, or taxi services when needed. Finding the right choice for your handling your data depends on where you’ll be traveling, which devices you anticipate using, and how often you’ll want to make calls, text, or go online. Finding a well-reviewed option, like this SIM card from mobal, is essential. A reviewer described their experience thus; “Took Viking Homelands Sea cruise, and visited Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Russia, Germany and Denmark, and my cheap Blu phone with Modal SIM worked like a charm. The internet on the boat was very slow (too many users on one feed) but tethering from the phone worked perfectly for feed to my wife’s android tablet.”
If you’ll be taking advantage of the local beaches or pools, plan on doing in-room laundry, or are just concerned about being caught in a heavy downpour in the rainy season, this easy to use clothesline has built-in pins to secure laundry for drip drying. Even though expensive rentals in many countries include a clothes washer, air-drying is still common in much of the world, particularly for anyone who wishes for improved longevity in their clothing.
A basic mix-and-match wardrobe takes the stress out of packing and dressing while traveling. Comfortable shoes while traveling are essential, as well as easy to layer essentials like shirts and sweaters, which can accommodate temperature shifts from daytime to night, or sharp swings between indoor or outdoor temps. If heading to a temple, cathedral, shrine, or memorial sites, it’s best to be respectful and dress a little more elevated. A basic button-up or collared shirt is fine in most cases.
What to do when your flight is delayed, your devices are low on battery, and jet lag has you firmly in its’ grasp? Keep yourself occupied with a game of solitaire, or make new friends with a friendly game of rummy or poker; make sure you ask them to teach you the local variations, or their favorite games as well. You’ll meet new people, and have fun stories to tell back home.
In much of the world, tea reigns supreme. If getting through the day without a guaranteed cuppa joe sounds more like torture than a vacation, bring your own. Instant coffee has come a long way in a short time, and Starbucks Via offers several flavor options; choose brewed coffee or sweet and indulgent lattes.
If you’re staring down the nose of a long overseas flight, a few essentials make all the difference. A travel pillow, a comfortable sweater, and devices loaded full of entertainment can all make a long flight tolerable. But for health and safety beyond just convenience, consider a pair of compression socks, to lower the risk of DVT blood clots.
If you’re packing light, aim for only two to three pairs of shoes; a good all day pair, like these Columbia boots, are perfect for traversing the miles, whether you’ll be in the city or the country. Bring along a nice dress pair of shoes, to let you enjoy the local nightlife, and a slip-on pair, to make it easy to get through airport security or enjoy the local beaches without seriously gumming up those comfortable hiking boots with sand.